A former Northeastern University track and field coach has been charged in connection with a scheme to trick female student-athletes into sending him nude photos.
Steve Waithe, 28, who had been fired in 2019 following multiple sexual harassment complaints, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of cyberstalking and one count of wire fraud, according to documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusettes. Waithe is accused of carrying out a scheme to “dupe female Northeastern University track and field athletes into sending him nude or semi-nude photos of themselves.”
Waithe allegedly contacted athletes under the premise of an “athlete research” or “body development” study, requesting for the victims to send photos of themselves in a “uniform or bathing suit to show as much skin as possible” and maintained that the photos would not be shared or saved. As detailed in court documents, investigators have identified more than 10 victims of the phony “body development study” scheme and over 300 related nude and semi-nude images of victims in Waithe’s email accounts.
In an official statement regarding Waithe’s arrest, Northeastern University shed light on the former track and field coach’s 2019 termination. “Mr. Waithe was employed at Northeastern from October 2018 and terminated in February 2019 as a result of a university investigation into his inappropriate conduct toward female student athletes,” Northeastern wrote. “Impacted students were provided with resources for counseling and holistic support for their well-being. The Northeastern University Police Department also alerted federal law enforcement officials and worked in full cooperation for the duration of the federal investigation. We appreciate the diligence of the FBI and the US Attorney’s office and the actions that resulted today.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Massachusettes, the charge of cyberstalking provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
Waithe is scheduled to appear in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois Wednesday before appearing at a court in Boston at a later date.